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Lean Leadership: Shifting from Doing to Teaching

It is difficult for someone who has been rewarded many years for being a problem-solver to suddenly shift behavior from solving problems to teaching others how to solve problems. It can be a difficult habit to break that requires patience, perseverance, and a method to help leaders do it. Continue reading

What Matters More? Process or Results

If the room is too cold, do you work on the thermometer or the heater? Which is more important . . . process or results? It’s a question that spurs debate on bulletin boards and in blog posts. The problem with the question is that it approaches the two as disconnected rather than one-in-the same. … Continue reading

The Case Against the Flat Organization

Since the 1990s, consultants and authors have been touting the benefits of the flat organization.  Among the advantages commonly associated with flattened organizations are improved innovation, empowered employees, and faster decision-making.  I’ve worked with many “flat” organizations over the years and, rather than improved flexibility and increased speed, found burned out managers, frustrated employees, and … Continue reading

Using Dashboards to Improve Leadership

I have found very few people today who don’t agree that lean makes sense for business. Leading a team, plant, or organization, however, is a complex and challenging responsibility, and with a host of responsibilities and competing priorities and pressures, it’s realistic to expect a leader to change his or her way of leading just because it makes sense. The best way to help people understand how the work they do can align with these four responsibilities is to show them. By going to gemba and demonstrating how the elements of lean work together to drive improvement, those you are coaching will begin to understand how the philosophy connects to real work. Continue reading

A Deliberate & Calculated System of Improvement

Once a target or objective is set, lean provides a framework for mobilizing and organizing the team to make it happen. In a cultural sense, lean thinking leads to an almost obsessive drive to improve. Continue reading